VICTORY IN VEGAS: UFC 33 at Mandalay Bay Events Center, Sept. 28, 2001
Seventeen years ago this month …
History declares that this one started it. And could have ended it — at least in Las Vegas.
Though this Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) entry was the first mixed martial arts event ever sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, UFC 33 has gone down in the annals of UFC lore as perhaps the most boring clash of titans ever held. Even UFC President Dana White declared: “UFC 33 is the only one I can remember where every fight sucked” and labeled it “the worst show we’ve ever had.”
Obviously, this is unacceptable in this town and UFC events have rebounded spectacularly in Las Vegas since then. Why did this one disappoint? Mixed martial arts is a sport that prides itself on spectacular climaxes — i.e., knockouts or submissions (in which one fighter incapacitates his opponent in a choke or lock position). Yet the five main-card fights in 33, including three title matches, all ended in decisions (booooo!) for the first time in UFC history. Only in two of the three preliminary contests did one knockout and one submission prevail.
Top-heavy with eight contests (UFC was spurred to reduce the number of fights to five in subsequent events), its biggest battle was the fans — 9,500 of them — fighting fatigue. UFC 33 dragged on for so long that many pay-per-view providers cut out early from the coverage.
Happily, UFC has earned its niche in Vegas with many more exciting clashes, with the next one — UFC 229 — scheduled for Oct. 6 at T-Mobile Arena.
Stunningly, though, the endurance test for fighters and viewers alike known as UFC 33 was actually committed to DVD. We would suggest watching the catfights on any Real Housewives episodes instead.